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Another 48 Hours Review

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Guess what? With a day left to serve on his sentence, Reggie Hammond is approached by old “pal,” cop Jack Cates to help him crack another case. Now things are even more complicated: Jack is trying to clear his own name, Reggie wants the $500k Jack was loo

★★★★★

That the ream of screenwriters and spurious honourees with “characters by” credits, not least Eddie Murphy’s own dubious “story by” notation, totals eight reveals what a hotchpotch of a sequel this was from the conceptual stages. Not that they had any greater aspiration than a greatest hits package of the first film. Although, where the original — hardly a pillar in the cathedral of cinema itself — set-about its purpose with a directness and punchy wit, here the plot, much like its stars, is over-fed, under-willing and noticeably plumper round the middle.

The simple Xeroxed process of liberating Reggie from the clink — where his sentence was dubiously extended due to a prison safe being emptied — seems tortuously long-winded, finally requiring a pair of evil bikers to force his prison bus off the road. Once back in the guardianship of Jack, it’s like eight years had never passed. At least, that is what director Walter Hill desperately hopes for. So, as they track down the mysterious criminal mastermind known as the “Iceman”, they must jockey for male dominance (again), come to respect one another (again) and even do a replica run round a redneck bar – the original’s sparkiest concoction, nothing like as funny here.

Murphy, especially, seems out of sorts. He still lands the lines with that familiar groove of petty exasperation and put-upon indignation, but he looks ill-at-ease, nursing his wounds in safe formula after the failure of his dream project Harlem Nights. He’s hardly helped by Hill’s greater emphasis on action over comedy. By comparison, Nolte is far more content to go over old ground. Cates has, to some degree, moved on: giving up the booze, losing his girlfriend, turning out, if anything, more of system twisting maverick and Nolte shambles through it, a big, ugly bear with a sore head. Again.

The bigger budget pays for plenty more mechanical carnage, shot with the brash polish the best technicians grant you, but this is just “another” wearisome example of Hollywood’s pointless idolatry of bleached out sequels.

Purposeless waste of director Walter Hill's energies.

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